Basquiat Before Basquiat | MCA Denver

Basquiat Before Basquiat
East 12th Street, 1979-1980.

Painted television in the apartment, c. 1979–1980. Photograph by Alexis Adler.

Basquiat performing in the apartment, c. 1979-1980. Photograph by Alexis Adler.

Basquiat in the apartment, 1980. Photograph by Alexis Adler.

The accompanying publication includes essays that delve more deeply into particular aspects of this period. The writer and archivist Sur Rodney Sur explores the use of words and text in Basquiat’s work, looking specifically at the objects in Adler’s archive. Malu Halasa, a noted writer who also lived in downtown New York at this time, discusses the importance of Adler’s photographs as historical documentation of Basquiat’s early art and processes. Nora Burnett Abrams, curator at MCA Denver, places these works in the art historical context of Basquiat’s oeuvre and also the art of the downtown scene. Dense with images and bolstered by critical texts, the publication presents the nuanced dynamic between Basquiat and his immediate context. Additional contributors include writers Luc Sante and Darryl Pinckney, musicians Michael Holman, Felice Rosser, and Jennifer Jazz, historian Bud Kliment, and filmmaker Sara Driver.

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